Sunday 27 November 2016

Sak-Blow: Hammy Injury for Hammers Hero

David Gold has revealed that Diafra Sakho's problem is a hamstring injury and the prognosis will not be clear until a scan tomorrow. Sakho's principal injury problem over the past six months has been to his back but has also previously struggled with thigh and groin injuries.

After his excellent performance today - where he scored one and had another headed effort just glide over the bar, Sakho deserves a bit of luck. Let's hope his injury is just a grade 1 in severity as West ham really need his abrasive and direct style.

Andy Carroll continues to edge his way back and may be available for the bench on Wednesday night but Ashley Fletcher looks set to lead the line against his former club. It seems that Simone Zaza is now truly out of the frame as he is close to a mandatory buy out if he reached 14 appearances.


Jon Moss - Where have you been all of our lives?

Oops! Sorry Jon
Bet you can't wait to have another go at Man United on Wednesday? After a pretty open and exciting encounter, the Hammers came away from Ye Olde Trafford with a deserved point after an early strike from the returning Diafra Sakho was levelled by I-Zlatan. United huffed and puffed and had plenty of opportunities, but similarly West Ham had a few excellent opportunities to steal al three points as the second half witnessed a ding dong toe to toe encounter.

For once, the man in the middle was excellent. Hammers fans quite rightly feel that over the years the Old Trafford crowd have persuaded referees to award dubious decisions to the home side, but Moss was having none of their simulation and whinging for free kicks and penalties at every possible opportunity. Even better, he expelled I-Jose to the stands for petulantly kicking over a bottle while wandering outside his technical area. Hilarious!

At the back Ogbonna was excellent while Dazza Randolph was simply sensational in pulling off a series of wonderful stops to keep it level. Across midfield the Hammers passed the ball well and kept the Man United defence on their toes. Up front Diafra Sakho provided the kind of directness that has been lacking and will hopefully be ok after going off with a twinge (?) just after the hour. Ashley Fletcher clearly relished his opportunity and so nearly pulled off a dramatic winner in the final minute of normal time.

Ultimately, West Ham fans will applaud referee Jon Moss for his confident performance as he made a series of excellent calls to keep the game entirely honest. He has obviously forgiven the Hammers for Joe Cole clattering into him a few seasons back! Can we have him officiate on Wednesday as well?

Holy Moley Its Sakhoooooooooo

There has been a major shocker at Old Trafford already this afternoon - not that West Ham have scored BUT IT WAS A STRIKER WHO NETTED!!!

Diafra Sakho latched on to Dimi Payet's tantalising free kick in the second minute to put the Cockney Boys one up.

Welcome back Mr Sakhoooooooooooo

Team Sheets: Bilic Plays it Cautious as Old Trafford Series Begins

The teams have been announced for this afternoon's clash and Slaven Bilic has opted to play it tight as West Ham seek a rare victory at Old Trafford. Randolph continues in goal, while Mark Noble returns with Andre Ayew dropping to the bench. Despite all the rumours of a return, there's no place for Andy Carroll on the bench as Diafra Sakho leads the line. Many Hammers fans will be concerned to note that Michail Antonio is again in the right back role.

West Ham: Randolph, Cresswell, Kouyate, Lanzini, Obiang, Sakho, Noble, Collins, Ogbonna, Payet, Antonio.
Substitutes: Adrian, Nordtveit, Feghouli, Zaza, Ayew, Fletcher, Fernandes.
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian; Herrera, Pogba, Mata; Rashford, Lingard, Ibrahimovic.
Substitutes: Romero, Blind, Fellaini, Schweinsteiger, Mkhitaryan, Young, Rooney.

In good news, the almost always wrong Mystic Mark Lawrenson reckons Man Unitred will win 2-1. At 15-2 for the win, the Hammers are a reasonable bet but the 4-1 for a draw looks the best value.

West Ham's biggest ever win against Man United was in the 1930/1 season where they romped home 5-1 - you'll get 500-1 for a similar scoreline today!


Payet to join West Man United XI?

Young Ashley Fletcher will be hoping to get a run out in either today or next Wednesday's games against his former club as West Ham visit Ye Olde Trafforde in search of much needed points. It's pretty remarkable to think that last year the Hammers were doing battle with Man United for the fourth champions league spot but are now languishing just above the drop zone on goal difference only. A heavy defeat (five goals) for Slaven Bilic's men could push them down a place into 18th!

The media have gone into overdrive about the alleged £35 million bid from Man United for Hammers talisman Dimitri Payet - a player who would surely walk into the West Man United XI!

Ahead of today's match we consider the merits of a team comprised of players who have played for both clubs making up the impressive ‘West Man United XI’.  Ultimately, will these performers be considered Hammers or Devils?



At Man United he failed to inspire confidence - epitomised by ‘the goal that never was’. Joined West Ham in 2005 after falling out over a lack of first team opportunities. Had a good initial season but sustained a back injury in Jan 2006 and slipped into a variety of difficulties that ultimately earned him a place in the ‘Troubled Bubbles XI’!  Currently with Irish League outfit Linfield. Verdict Neither.

Hammers debut at the tender age of 17, Rio soon forced his way into the regular first team squad where he continued to impress until Leeds paid a record 18 million for him in November 2000. Quickly moved to Man United where he has been a fantastic servant for a decade and was key to the many successes of the past decade.Verdict Devil.

8 appearances for Man United where he was never really given a chance. A bargain signing for 500K for West ham that led to a five year career and over 100 appearances . Versatile defender who had his finest hour when scoring twice in a 4-0 victory over Man United in 2010. Ran out of road as the Hammers regrouped after relegation and moved to Birmingham City where he remains. Verdict: Hammer.

Top man. Signed from Cork Athletic in 1952. Noel enjoyed a fruitful 8 years at West Ham with 250 appearances. Captained the Hammers to promotion back to the top flight for the first time in almost 30 years in 1958 . Sold to man Utd for almost 30K in 1960 where he captained a cup winning side and was part of two league winning teams. Verdict Hammer.

Hmmm. One that got away having impressed at youth level but nicked by Man United. He might have fared so much better had he stuck with the Hammers and gotten a better shot at first team football. Many observers would say that he has never lived up to his potential. Part of the nightmare team that saw Aston Villa relegated last year, he is currently at Cardiff City. Verdict Neither.

Industrious and gamey, the 'Guvnor'  was never found wanting in the Hammers shirt after replacing Billy Bonds in 1987. He didn’t handle his Hammers departure very well being photographed in a Man United shirt well before the deal was confirmed. Probably did not deserve the  criticisms thrown his way by Fergie and after 6 years and over 200 appearances Verdict: Devil.

Another one thrown in as a teenager at 17 into the Hammers first team. Skilful but perhaps a little ‘ghosty’ at times. Happy to do the unglamorous work and stayed loyal after relegation in 2003 before losing patience and moving to Spurs for 3.5 Million and then Man United where he has been a solid performer for ten seasons. Verdict Devil.

Trouble with a capital T during his time at Man United, Fergie tired of his disciplinary problems and Big Sam obliged for a mere 650K. Initially 'Raveldo' looked like an astute piece of business but  disciplinary and personal issues re-emerged and after 18 games for the Hammers he was moved on. Currently languishing in the reserves at Lazio. Verdict Hammer.

Arrived at Man United late in his career but proved another astute Fergie signing and achieved legendary status in stoppage time of the 1999 Champions League final. Came to the Hammers not far short of pension age but still had plenty to offer by virtue of his excellent footballing brain. Returned as forwards coach to great effect in the 2014-5 season. Time to return and sort out our attacking woes? Verdict Devil. 

Played in a different era when United were not quite the same powerhouse they are now but picked up a cup winners medal, scoring in the 1977 final against lovely Liverpool.
Moved to the Hammers in 1979 after a nasty knee injury but still managed to play a major part in the 1980 Cup final victory over Arsenal, teeing up Trevor Brooking’s ‘stunning’ header! Verdict Both.

Arrived at the Boleyn in a bizarre deal in 2006. Bemused Hammers faithful endured two-thirds of a season of Carlos trying to inspire a lacklustre side and then it all clicked into gear for the final 10 games where he couldn’t stop scoring, including a final day win at Old Trafford to keep the Hammers up! The Apache had some classy moments in the United shirt but got sidetracked by his own ego needs. Ultimately moving to City was the final straw.Verdict Hammer.

Substitutes: Luke Chadwick, Les Sealey, David Bellion, Ashley Fletcher.

So, final score 4-4. The odds of that being the score in today's game are 350-1!!! After the Swansea vs Palace 5-4 game yesterday maybe anything is truly possible?

Its Back to the Future as Hammers Finally have Top Strikers Available

While they certainly aren't TC and God, Hammers fans will be cheered by the news that Andy Carroll is available to partner recently returned Diafra Sakho for today's visit to Old Trafford. Slaven Bilic has hinted that Andy might get a place on the bench as he looks to halt the slide into the relegation zone. last week Sakho looked keen but a little ring rusty. Another week will see him closer to match fitness and he will hope to build upon last week's 60 minutes of action.

However, the absence of Winston Reid may prove crucial as James Collins will need to be in top form to manage Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Elsewhere, the problems at right back are again a cause as Bilic looks likely to persist with the Antonio experiment that has repeatedly undone his sides efforts. At this stage Alvaro Arbeloa must be wondering why he was brought into the club as he has been mysteriously left out in the cold. No doubt Rashford and Martial will be looking forward to testing whoever Bilic opts to play at right back.
Mark Noble returns and will hope to help the Hammers to grab a little more than the paltry 33% of possession that they managed against Spurs. Bilic's recent tactic of playing Kouyate in a deeper role has tightened things up at the back but leaves the midfield lacking in bite. Pedro Obiang has stepped up of late but does not have Kouyate's attacking ability and has yet to score for the Hammers.

Meanwhile, in typical Mourinho style, in an effort to destabilise the Hammers camp the Mancs have splattered the media with reports of a 'massive' bid for Dimitri Payet. Graeme Souness has added to the noise by claiming that Payet's contractual capers have upset the dressing room and that he has stopped contributing in the way he was last year. However, the stats suggest otherwise as Payet has created 49 chances so far this season - considerably more than any Man United player which is possibly why Mourinho is interested in him! The Pogba vs Payet aspect of today's encounter will be fascinating.

Kick off today is at 4.30 - just 75 hours later they will be kicking off again as the sides also meet in the League Cup on Wednesday night, again at Old Trafford. A win in either game would greatly ease the growing pressure on SuperSlav.



Monday 21 November 2016

Is Sturridge Really better than Sakho?

The rumour mill keeps swinging back to the possibility that West Ham might try to bring England striker Daniel Sturridge to the Olympic Stadium to bolster our impotent attack. However, despite the sickening manner of the defeat, Saturday's game did bring a host of positives. Chief amongst these was the return of Diafra Sakho.

Three's a crowd?
The Senegalese hitman has had a series of issues over the past nine months, both personally and professionally, but is finally back in claret and blue and looking to recover the sort of form that characterised his arrival at the club in August 2014, where an explosive start saw him bag six goals in as many games! 
Having almost exited to West Brom back in August, Sakho failed his medical and has endured a long journey back to fitness - one which has given him plenty of time to ponder on the vagaries of life! Now he's back and looks keen - bringing his characteristic physical edge to Saturday's game where as the lone striker he hassled the Spurs defence vastly more than Zaza, Calleri and the rest have done so far this season.

Understandably, he was substituted after an hour as he is still trying to get back to match fitness, but one wonders if he would have done better with the two on one break that presented itself to Simone Zaza with under ten minutres to go when we were 2-1 up. A third would have seased the win and prevented the nonsense that ensued but Zaza dallied and fluffed his lines. 

Which brings us back to Sturridge. His well documented (but poorly understood) injury problems are a definite negative. Consecutive Liverpool managers have made unusual comments about his commitment to playing suggesting, to this onlooker at least, that a 'psychological overlay' might be at play. With Andy Sicknote already soaking up a massive part of our wages budget, maybe another injury-prone striker is the last thing we need.

And then there's the strike rate. Sakho has a 33% scoring rate but brings a lot of physicality to the game and opens things up for others, forcing the opposition to defend deeper. Sturridge's is a little better at 37%, but much of this surplus mostly relates to the period he spent hovering up the rich pickings alongside the phenomenal goal machine that is Luis Suarez!

Maybe we need to stick with Sakho. For many fans, ex-Hammer Jermain Defoe looks wasted at Sunderland where even in a limited side he has 42% hit rate, with 18 goals last year and 7 already this season. After 12 games no striker at our club has hit the net! Now 34 years old, Defoe would only be a stop gap until we can truly bolster our attack in the Summer, but maybe the bright lights of London and the Floodlights at the Olympic Stadium might appeal?

However, having tasted relegation once before with the Hammers, he might want to pass on another stint at the club as we are slipping perilously close to the drop zone and last season he proved how his contribution can be the difference between Sunderland staying up or not. They’d be mad to let him go!

Sunday 20 November 2016

Sifting Through the Rubble after WHL Horror Show

As the dust settles on what was one of the most disappointing defeats EVER for Hammers fans, we can perhaps look at the game more objectively. We showed great courage to get ahead twice in a game where we conceded the lions share of the possession (67%!!!). The principal factor in this was the resolute defending with Winston Reid in particular really putting in a massive shift. 

That his game ended with a red card was just one more misfortune in what ended as a sickening day. He will miss the Man United game which will make it even harder to get a result to lift us away from the drop zone. Even though we don't deserve to be quite as low in the Premiership as 17th, as Hammers fans we know that once you go into the drop zone the bad luck becomes infectious.

Up front Diafra Sakho was a delight to watch. He hurried and harried the Spurs defence and given his lack of match time over the past 6 months he put in a tremendous hour's work. Simone Zaza was awful and messed up a chance to bury Spurs when we were 2-1 up but dallied and the chance slipped away. He needs a new club. Andre Ayew has yet to play well for us but its early days.

Which brings us to the Spurs goals. All three came from moves down our right side. The first involved a hand ball by Janssen, the second was grave misfortune but a decent right back would have blocked passage before the ball whizzed across to Harry Kane. Dazza Randolph got a hand to it but in doing so made Kane's task all the easier. The penalty was a moment of utter madness from Nordtveit. Randolph almost pulled off a wonder save despite Kane's precision. Hmmm.

Alvaro Arbeloa must be wondering what is going on. He silently slipped off the radar a few weeks back for no apparent reason. He didn't play badly at any point and is not injured. Bilic has changed our system somewhat - and is once again experimenting with playing our best attacker in a defensive role! However, there is no such difficulty on the left, so why not play a specialist right back on the right?

The January transfer window is not the ideal place to look for decent first team additions or indeed for value, but we need a major clear out. All of the loan deals have been disappointingly unsuccessful and Tore, Zaza and Calleri should be let go asap. Nordtveit has been solid (apart from yesterday's foolishness which will unfortunately be remembered for ever!), Feghouli has looked interesting but without a cutting edge. Fletcher is developing. Let's hope Sakho is back for real and not just to ready him for a move in January. With Andy Carroll we need to  cut our losses and just plan for him not ever being reliably available and enjoy it when he is.

We need to dust ourselves down and focus upon the Old Trafford visits. We deserved at least a draw at Spurs but that's history now. The cup competitions still present a good chance to make our season memorable for positive reasons.


Saturday 19 November 2016

Errrr.....There Can Only be One Explanation

On rare occasions we are left speechless.

This is one of those.

Just pass me the gin.

Hammers Take One Goal Lead into Half Time!

It's been a lively first half at WHL with West Ham adopting an unexpectedly attacking tactic and, despite only having 30% of the possession, have had the lion's share of chances with 7 to 4 in shots on goal and are deservedly leading through a Michail Antonio strike. It's hard to see it staying at the single goal but on a positive note Diafra Sakho looks very lively indeed.



Sakho Selection Shocker!

Well it's not as crazy as Sam's 4-6-0 formation was that earned him the Allardici tag, but SuperSlav has decided to go for it with an unexpected starting XI that includes Diafra Sakho starting!!!! As predicted by many, Adrian is 'rested' in favour of Randolph, while we look lightish in midfield with Kouyate and Obiang - the former possibly playing in a very deep role. It'll be a tough shift for Obiang today!

West Ham United: Randolph; Antonio, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Kouyate, Obiang; Ayew, Lanzini, Payet; Sakho

Bilic Team Selection Shocker!

Well it's not as crazy as Sam's 4-6-0 formation was that earned him the Allardici tag, but SuperSlav has decided to go for it with an unexpected starting XI that includes Diafra Sakho starting!!!!

West Ham United: Randolph; Antonio, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Kouyate, Obiang; Ayew, Lanzini, Payet; Sakho

Are You Ready For A Ripsnorter?

A definite ripsnorter!
The word for the day today at is Ripsnorter or 'something remarkably wild and exciting' and that's what awaits at White Hart Lane today. Hammers fans have to grudgingly admit that the current Spurs squad is strong, but SuperSlav's men relish getting a pop at opponents who fancy themselves and will be hoping to show the form that recently tamed Chelsea.

With Captain Mark Noble on a suspension, Bilic has a big call to make in terms of his midfield and whether he should persist with the back three set up which has steadied our previously very leaky defence. Central to that call will be the fitness of Reid / Collins to team up with Angelo Ogbonna and, of course, whether Cheik Kouyate should be pushed further forward to add some bite to our attack.

Young Edmilisen Fernandes has done really well since forcing his way into the starting XI. Despite being shifted around the formation, his close control has stood to him and today could well see him given a role somewhat like Ravel Morrison had in the famous 3-0 thrashing of three years ago. It will be a huge day for Pedro Obiang as he will have the opportunity to develop upon a string of decent performances of late but with Nobes in the stands on this occasion Obiang will be the conductor of our midfield orchestra .

Just how Bilic uses Michail Antonio today remains a mystery! Right Back, Right wing, Striker, Goalkeeper? Who knows except the Croat himself! Andre Ayew may get the responsibility up top with Antonio at wing back, but there is also the Diafra Sakho factor to consider as a possibility. Mr Sakho seriously damaged his popularity at the club last year and may well be just being prepared for a January exit, but many fans would love to see him properly back in the picture at West Ham. We expect him to come off the bench for the final fifteen .

In the goals there is also much to ponder with Darren Randolph really pushing for a starting role. Adrian is a great keeper but he has become erratic this season and may have cooked his goose with a poor display against Stoke.

And then there's a certain Dimi Payet who quite likes a big stage to demonstrate his unusual skillset!

The good news for Hammers fans is that Mystic Mark Lawrenson has predicted that we will lose.

Probable Starting XI: Randolph, Antonio, Reid, Collins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Kouyate, Obiang, Lanzini , Payet, Ayew.


Thursday 17 November 2016

Bilic signals the return of Sakho for crunch derby

This weekend sees the mighty West Ham make the short trip to visit 'little' Tottenham Hotspurs at No Heart Lane. Many predict that the East London giants will find the atmosphere in such a tiny ground intimidating and may underperform.

Given that the average attendance so far this season at Spurs home games is a paltry 31,400, the Hammers may find the little stadium suffocating as they have become used to playing in front of an average of 57,000 fans at the Olympic stadium - making them the third most watched club in the league!

Tottenham have been playing cute all week pretending that half their squad will be unavailable for selection, but as the big game draws nearer suddenly all sorts of miraculous recoveries have been announced. Meanwhile, West Ham may be ready to finally welcome back Diafra Sakho. The Senegalese hitman's abrasive and penetrating style has been sorely missed by the Hammers who have yet to see a goal scored by any of their recognised forwards this season!

Sakho's days at West Ham looked over after the Summer when he refused to travel with the team on their preseason trip to the US but then failed a medical at West Brom and found himself in the wilderness. Luckily, David Gold has remained supportive to Sakho through all of his difficulties and issued an upbeat message about Sakho's return earlier this week.

Perhaps even more reassuring were Slaven Bilic's positive remarks about Sakho's abilities in his Prematch press conference where he highlighted his capacity to create space and opportunities for the team - something that has been sadly lacking so far this season leaving Bilic's men just one place above the drop zone.

Bilic went on to explain how he expected it to take a few games for Sakho to get  back his match sharpness but Hammers fans will be hoping his new start will be as explosive as his arrival three years ago when he scored six goals in his first six appearances!



Bilic Looks For Superhero To Strengthen his Comical Attack

Section 8 - possibly the crappest superheroes of all time!

With his attack seriously misfiring, West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has some difficult choices ahead in order to recover the momentum that last season saw his side become the trendiest side in Europe. A disastrous Summer transfer campaign saw the departure of Emmanuel Emenike, Victor Moses and Enner Valencia - the latter going on a season-long loan to Everton.

Valencia was perhaps the most significant loss as he failed to replicate his international form whilst at the Hammers. Since moving to Mersey side he has made only four appearances with no goals scored. In contrast, he continues to bang in the goals for Ecuador and now has an impressive 6 strikes during 2016 and 19 from 34 appearances overall!

Valencia hit the news this week appeared in public wearing a Superman costume during a visit to a hospital! many Hammers fans will find the images ironic as he has hardly been super or heroic during his time at West Ham - managing a very modest 10 goals in 66 appearances.

However, that count is considerably better than his expensive replacements - Simone Zaza, Jonathan Calleri, Ashley Fletcher and Andre Ayew - who haven't managed a single goal between them so far this season! If any Superheroes come to mind it would have to be the lamest Superheroes of all time - Section 8.

This amazingly empowered gang included Sixpack (special power is extreme drunkenness), The Defenestrator (who carries around a window to throw people through it), Jean De Baton-Baton (who defeats foes with his powerful Frenchness), Shakes (who upsets people with his palsy),  Flemgem (who has a bad chest infection and emits gooey crap onto his enemies) and, perhaps the stupidest of all, Dogwelder -who fights crime by welding dogs to people’s faces.

Maybe we could add another Dud Superhero to the Section 8 gang - Andy Carroll as DC Comics short-lived 1989 creation - Arm Fall Off Boy!!!! Yes, this guy fights the baddies with his detached upper limb!

Sounds like our Andy alright!!!

Hammers Top of the League....But Who Baked All the Pies?

While the Hammers on-field exploits this season have seen them drift perilously close to the relegation zone, it has emerged that the club are now top of the Premiership table in terms of the cost of the traditional pie on match day!

Hammers Head Honchos, Messers Sullivan and Gold will no doubt be quick to defend the cost of your steak and kidney feast as an important source of much-needed funds to eventually buy a reliable Premiership-standard striker, but our intrepid on-line sleuths at VERYWESTHAM have identified the REAL reason that our match day pies are so expensive.

While there is no guarantee that every pie is lovingly prepared by our popular net minder, Adrian's recent form between the sticks suggests that he may soon have plenty of time to indulge his culinary inclinations as Darren Randolph looks set to usurp Adrian as our first choice keeper. An online poll conducted by the science department at VWH found that two-thirds of fans responding think Randolph should start against Tottenham at the weekend.

The cost of the pies has also likely impacted upon the club's placing in another Premiership League table - the fattest fans ratings. Last conducted in 2010, the Hammers ranked 7th highest in terms of percentage of fans who reported being obese - outweighed by mighty Sunderland, Everton and Man City! No doubt the punitively-high price of pies will have forced Hammers fans to consider foregoing their half-time snack. Interestingly, the table also highlights just how many of the class of 2010 are no longer in the Premiership as nine of those ranked are now departed from the top flight!

For now though, fans can rejoice that our exorbitantly expensive pies ensure that at least in one respect West Ham top the premiership rankings! 


Sunday 13 November 2016

Sakho Ready for Spurs Trip as Hammers Impress on International Stage

Slaven Bilic’s side may be underperforming so far in this season’s Premiership, but on the International front there is much to remind us just how talented our current squad is as the latest series of Internationals highlights.
Dimitri Payet put himself even further into the shop window with another stunning performance for France - scoring one and assisting in another as France defeated Sweden 2-1 in Paris on Friday. Payet’s free-kick in the 58th minute was headed home by Paul Pogba. Dimitri then capped off a fine performance by scoring the winner on 65 minutes thus maintaining France’s dominance in the group. As we languish in 17th place in the Premiership, the pressure for a move in January is mounting and his own recent comments highlight how little long-term contracts actually mean in the modern game.

There was also a big night for hammers latest rising star – young Edimilson Fernandes who made his debut for Switzerland against the Faroe Islands in Lucerne. Fernades came on midway through the second half and helped his side to a 2-0 victory. No doubt his recent breakthrough into the Hammers first team was a significant factor in his international promotion.
The Republic of Ireland pulled off a major coup in Vienna with a 1-0 win over Austria to go top of their group with three wins and a draw after the opening four matches. Hammers number two Darren Randolph relished some game time and kept a precious clean sheet with an assured performance for the boys in green. You’d have to wonder what he needs to do to displace the out of form Adrian in the starting XI?

Meanwhile, Cheikhou Kouyate captained Senegal to a disappointing 2-1 defeat in South Africa, while Andre Ayew captained Ghana to a 2-0 loss in Egypt.
Elsewhere, Sofiane Feghouli played the final ten minutes as Algeria were defeated 3-1 in Nigeria, Simone Zaza came on as a late substitute for Italy in their 4-0 win in Liechtenstein (no, he didn’t score!), and Havard Nordtveit sat on the bench throughout Norway’s 2-1 loss to the Czech Republic in Prague.

Spurs are up next – they remain the only unbeaten side in the four English leagues! We will be missing Mark Noble but Tottenham are having a bad run of injuries and could be without a host of first team players. Diafra Sakho will be available for selection which will give a revealing insight into whether he has truly made his peace with SuperSlav. Andy Carroll continues to make 'good progress' - whatever that is! maybe he'll be back for the New Year?
The North Londoners have become draw specialists with 6 stalemates in their opening 11 games. A draw away from home would be a decent result for SuperSlav’s lads just now as they face a series of tough fixtures and will want to head into Christmas outside of the relegation zone.

Time for a change between the sticks?

The International break has added further momentum to the calls for a starting spot for Hammers goalkeeping understudy Darren Randolph. 'Randy' kept a clean sheet with an assured display as the Republic of Ireland pulled off a 1-0 win in Vienna to go top of their group with ten points ahead of Wales (6 points) and Serbia (8 points).

Meanwhile, Adrian has been struggling of late to find the level of consistency that nailed down the first choice stoppers spot last year, Randolph keeps on impressing in the League Cup and at International level. At this stage it's a very close call as to who will get the nod to start against Spurs next week.

Interestingly, Randolph's squad number is #1 while Adrian has the usually avoided #13...perhaps destiny was being tested at the start of the campaign when squad numbers were being handed out!

Who do you think should be in the starting XI?

Sunday 6 November 2016

More Trouble in the Bubble...

YES, we can!!!

Let's face it, that was a pretty tepid display against Stoke. In the first half we got sucked into their system and looked entirely toothless. In the second we were little better and in the end a draw was a fair result. At the time of writing we are one place above the relegation zone and facing a run of four REALLY tough Premiership fixtures. With Tottenham (A), Arsenal (H), Liverpool (A) and Man United (A) waiting over the next month....unless we up our game, we will be back in the relegation zone by mid-December!...Bottom at Christmas? Surely not...With home games against Burnley and Hull in mid December hopefully we can haul ourselves upwards - presuming our confidence isn't too rattled after the run of hard matches before that.

So what can we do? We look tighter at the back and only for Adrian's foolishness we could have nicked an undeserved win in a game with few clear cut chances. It looks like Saturday's histrionics from Adrian, which included a series of fumbles before the goal, may signal a chance for Darren Randolph to take over in the starting XI.

In midfield we need to move the ball more quickly if we want Payet to get some space. That looks unlikely to happen against Spurs with Nobes suspended. Even worse, with Kouyate playing deeper this is a real problem but against better sides we need to prioritise defence.

Up front, Antonio is undoubtedly a presence, but we really need either Carroll or Sakho back to recover some structure. At this point many fans are sceptical about the quoted return dates as both players have 'mysterious' ailments that are dragging on and on. In the meantime it's a chance to see what Andre Ayew has to offer - it's hard to fathom where he fits into our system just now. Young Fletcher always looks lively but has not really delivered anything of substance just yet. On a less positive note, It looks like Slav's finally given up on Zaza.

Young Fernandes looks like a real prospect but what the hell is Slav at now playing him at right back? After the failed Antonio experiment, nit's shocking that we are repeating it with the young Swiss starlet....PLEASE JUST BUY A PROPER RIGHT BACK!!!

Right now, you'd settle for 4-5 points from the next four matches.

Tough times ahead - we need a united front, especially as the media are ripping so much entertainment out of our current plight.

Final word is of congratulations to the Ireland rugby team who finally overcame the mighty All Blacks after 114 years of trying! The bottom line is that anything is possible. Even a four game winning spree against the in form finest of the Premiership!